JARED RABIN – Something Left To Say (own label)

Something Left To SayBelatedly finding its way to the UK, Rabin’s debut album belies an extensive musical background that began at age five when his grandfather, the Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, taught him to play fiddle, and subsequently saw him involved in a diverse range of projects, from orchestra to jazz to prog rock. For this, however, he’s firmly focused on upbeat poppy Americana, playing everything but drums (with a couple of upright bass contributions from Dan Kristan), opening with the scurrying slide, banjo and organ underpinned title track evoking thoughts of both Paul Simon and Justin Rutledge before, guitars to the fore, taking a rockier direction on ‘Eight Trips Around The Sun’.

The pace slows for ‘A Memory Forever’, allowing more chance to appreciate warm softness of his vocals, the number gradually swelling on an organ wave towards the end, adopting a similar approach on ‘I Remember Last December’ where simple voice and acoustic guitar give way to harmonica and then a full orchestral finale.

It’s back to countrified rock on the 12 string driven ‘Not Heart Broken’ and, while ‘Old Man In The Rain’ feels a little too generic with its big guitar solo, he’s back on form for the Celtic and bluegrass fiddle fills jaunt of ‘Nothing I Can Do’, the album closing out in stadium rock style with ‘Ride The Wheel’. Not, perhaps, for those of folksier inclinations, but a promising new entry into the Americana rock mainstream.

Mike Davies

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Artist’s website: http://www.jaredrabin.com/

‘Whiskey Before Breakfast’:

PAUL TASKER – Cold Weather Music (Yellowroom YLLWRM-008)

Cold Weather MusicPaul Tasker is a Glaswegian multi-instrumentalist and guitar teacher who you may know from the bands Banish Misfortune and Doghouse Roses. Cold Weather Music is his first solo album.

The opener, ‘Husker’s Theme’ begins with solo banjo with layers of instruments building up and receding until the banjo closes the piece. Paul plays most of the music but collaborators include Dejan Lapanja who duets on two tracks; flautist Jo Shaw; Luigi Pasquini on percussion; Thomas Marsden on steel and Weisenborn and cellist Corran McArthur. This is an album that flashes by in a relaxing way with the long first track settling you in. Paul switches to guitar as the main instrument on ‘Gorlitzer’ and the flute takes the lead on the gentler ‘Sky Train’ while ‘Valve Oil’ is a banjo-led shuffle with steel giving it atmosphere.

The variety of styles always maintains the interest from the semi-classical ‘Blooms In The Autumn’ to the bleak country sound of ‘Tundra Plane’ with more banjo and another flute-led composition, ‘Ne’er Day’. ‘In E’, one of the two guitar duets is particularly good.

I don’t suppose that Cold Weather Music is going to send shock-waves through the business but it’s a fine album for a relaxed evening.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: www.paultaskermusic.com

‘Tundra Plane’ – live and solo:

Moulettes unveil Behemooth video

On May 27th Brighton based collective Moulettes, continue their journey into the alt.pop/rock/folk universe with the release of their most accomplished album to date – Preternatural.

It was in early 2015 when reading an article in the New Scientist that lead singer Hannah Miller first starting thinking about a concept for the new album.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the natural world” says Hannah. “But this article compelled me to look deeper and start exploring all the surreal and beautiful diversity that exists. There’s so many phenomenal creatures out there we thought they deserved their own album.”

Continue reading Moulettes unveil Behemooth video

GRYPHON – Red Queen To Gryphon Three (Talking Elephant TECD313)

Gryphon ThreeThose fine chaps at Talking Elephant continue their programme of classic re-issues with Red Queen To Gryphon Three, self-evidently the band’s third album. Hot on the success of Midnight Mushrumps, whose glorious title track is still a highlight of the band’s live set, they settled down in Oxfordshire to work on the follow-up. The writing had two foci – the partnership of Brian Gulland and Graeme Taylor on the one hand and Richard Harvey on the other.

The album comprises four long pieces, loosely based around the theme of a chess game. The first, ‘Opening Move’, is delightfully bombastic at first with David Oberlé’s thundering drums before Harvey’s keyboards inject a gentler note and the music moves back and forth in a battle between the two styles. Sometimes bassoon and recorders take the lead and even Philip Nestor’s bass gets an almost-solo before everything is gathered together for the climax. ‘Second Spasm’ begins with a bucolic mediaeval theme led by Harvey before Nestor shoulders him out of the way. Richard responds on keyboards and the two slug it out before giving way to a krumhorn duet – those were the days – and a new melody emerges with keys and military style drumming.

‘Lament’ is the longest track and one can imagine the game settling into a more thoughtful phase as pieces are exchanged. It’s a lovely piece. Finally ‘Checkmate’ picks up its quieter style and moves in for the kill. Many of the musical ideas we’ve heard throughout the album are reprised in new themes – the martial drums, the dancing recorders, the bassoon counter-melody and the electronic keyboard sounds.

In two years Gryphon developed from being hippy-style folkies into full-blown prog-rockers – they toured this album as support for Yes – and Red Queen To Gryphon Three may stand as being their most accomplished work.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: http://www.gaudela.net/gryphon/

Rare video footage of Gryphon live – ‘Juniper Suite’:

Lizanne Knott – new album

Lizanne Knott

US singer/songwriter Lizanne Knott releases her much-anticipated new studio album Excellent Day, via Proper Music Distribution, on 8th April 2016.

On this, her fourth album, Lizanne returns to her folk-blues roots, delivering a collection of love, loss and redemption songs by weaving the heart of the Mississippi Delta, the soul of New Orleans, the spirit of modern folk and the emotionality of vintage Nashville into an inspired and instantly memorable musical blend.

“The inspiration for these songs came from my long-time friend and guitarist, Jef Lee Johnson, who passed away unexpectedly three years ago,” Knott explains. “It made me dig really deep and go back to my roots in blues & jazz flavoured Americana. I hear his influence in almost every song.”

 Artist’s website: http://www.lizanneknott.com

‘Come For The Kill’:

Christopher Bruhn announces new album

Chandelier

Chandelier is the acclaimed guitarist’s second full-length solo release and the followup to his 2013 record, Weekends On The Frontier.   Chandelier presents 10 tracks of pure, original, solo acoustic guitar compositions for 6- and 12-string.

In addition to being a precise, clean picker, Bruhn is one of the most promising composers of the younger generation of fingerstylists around today. He’s studied from the best and formed a truly original style that will live on for generations. His work as a whole has a timeless quality that propels the American Primitive guitar genre forward and at the same time harkens back to an era when music and life were more simple.

Some press for his first record, Weekends On The Frontier:

“a pure, soulful, performance by one man and his acoustic guitar.” – Sound Color Vibration

“In a town where an acoustic troubadour is serenading you with a folky lament on every street corner, it’s great to hear a guy who has nothing to sing about, who just wants to play some acoustic guitar in the style of greats like John Fahey. Transportative, if that’s a word. (Let’s say it is.)” – Duluth News Tribune

Artist’s website: ChristophBruhn.com